Loudoun United headed into Wednesday’s game with the New York Red Bulls II looking for a win and looked their most confident this season en route to a 2-1 win over the Baby Bulls, albeit one that they were doing a man up for 75 minutes. Loudoun’s bugaboo so far in 2020 has been playing independent USL teams, and tonight they’ll be up against one of the more consistent ones going.
If you’re in the Eastern Conference, you can guarantee that Louisville City FC will be one of or the last team standing at the end of the postseason. Since its founding in 2014, the Lou appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals their first two seasons, and then won the USL Cup two straight seasons. They were somewhat uneven in the beginning of 2019, crystallized by a 3-0 thumping to this Loudoun team at the end of July. After that? They went on a 10 game unbeaten streak (winning 7) and closing out their last 13 games at a 9-1-3 clip, winning their quarterfinal and semifinal games in extra time on the road, and reached their third straight final (they lost to the Real Monarchs, Real Salt Lake’s USL affiliate). Former United States youth team/Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the group, with former D.C. United/Houston Dynamo midfielder Danny Cruz as the assistant and Technical Director, and both have been doing so since 2018. They’re currently last in Group E (on tiebreaker), and their offense has been struggling, and will want to come out strong tonight.
Key player: Jeremy Garay
The future University of Virginia student got a breather (along with several others) during Wednesday’s game so presumably he gets the first look Saturday, and he and his partner (presumably Brandon Williamson) are going to have to disrupt the center of midfield where Devon “Speedy” Williams and Corben Bone will try and get chances to the forwards for Loudoun to have any chance of taking a result back home.
Location: Lynn Family Stadium (Louisville, KY)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected Loudoun starting 11/who D.C. is loaning: If you’re reading this for the latter: None.
If you’re reading this for the former: given the rotation and that a lot of first team starters came off around an hour Wednesday, Ryan Martin should expect to have a similar complement of players available on Saturday. Given that Loudoun has their opener Wednesday (against Group F favorites Pittsburgh) there may be some more rotation here too, whether it’s a question of trying to get the road point before coming home Wednesday remains to be seen. Pittsburgh is playing on the road as well (at Indy), so now the good part starts.
Starters: Colin Miller; Christian Sorto, Adam Lundegard, Shane Wiedt, Peabo Doue; Garay, Williamson; Ted Ku-DiPietro, Michael Gamble, Massimo Ferrin; Tyler Gabarra
Bench: Lorenzo Gordon, Jacob Greene, Allexon Saravia, Timmy Mehl, Kairou Amoustapha, Elvis Amoh, Joshua Fawole
Key Louisville player: Cameron Lancaster
Lancaster played with Louisville from 2015 to 2018, scoring 36 goals in 79 games (including the Golden Boot and All League selection in 2018), before Nashville SC came calling and signed him to a pro deal, and had him play for the team when they were in the USL last year, scoring 5 in 18. He returned this year on loan and is picking up where he left off; he may have as many goals as Loudoun’s Elvis Amoh at the moment, but he is second in the league in shots with 28; Loudoun as a team has 38. Shutting Lancaster down doesn’t guarantee a win as there are other scoring options for the other side, but it will help.
Referee: As of Friday night, not announced.
Available streaming: ESPN+ (click to subscribe to ESPN+, and your friends at B&RU get a little bit of cash!)
What are you drinking?: In the preview for the midweek game I babbled about a beer box I’m going through, and well, I’m still going through it! I had the Imperial Quad Berry Hill from Nashville’s Southern Grist and it was unreal, and there are more sours to go.
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